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Introducing Device Connect for Fitbit: How Google Cloud and Fitbit are working together to help people live healthier lives

Healthcare is at the beginning of a fundamental transformation to become more patient-centered and data-driven than ever before. We now have better access to healthcare, thanks to improved virtual care, while wearables and other tools have dramatically increased our ability to take control of our own health and wellness. 

Healthcare alone generates as much as 30% of the world’s data and much of this will come from the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and consumer wearable devices. Gaining insights from wearable data can be challenging, however, due to the lack of a common data standard for health devices resulting in different data types and formats. So what do we do with all this data, and how do we make it most useful?  

Today, Fitbit Health Solutions and Google Cloud are introducing Device Connect for Fitbit, which empowers healthcare and life sciences enterprises with accelerated analytics and insights to help people live healthier lives. Fitbit data from their consenting users is made available through the Fitbit Web API, providing users with control over what data they choose to share and ensuring secure data storage and protection. Unlocking actionable insights about patients can help support management of chronic conditions, help drive population health impact, and advance clinical research to help transform lives. 

With this solution, healthcare organizations will be increasingly able to gain a more holistic view of their patients outside of clinical care settings. These insights can enhance understanding of patient behaviors and trends while at home, enabling healthcare and life science organizations to better support care teams, researchers, and patients themselves. Based on a recent Harris poll, more than 9 in 10 physicians (92%) believe technology can have a positive impact on improving patient experiences, and 96% agree that easier access to critical information may help save someone’s life.

Help people live healthier lives

This new solution can support care teams and empower patients to live healthier lives in several critical ways:

Pre- and post-surgery: Supporting the patient journey before and after surgery can lead to higher patient engagement and more successful outcomes.1 However, many organizations lack a holistic view of patients. Fitbit tracks multiple behavioral metrics of interest, including activity level, sleep, weight and stress, and can provide visibility and new insights for care teams to what’s happening with patients outside of the hospital.  Chronic condition management: For people living with diabetes, maintaining their blood glucose levels within an acceptable range is a constant concern. It’s just one of countless examples, from heart diseases to high blood pressure, where care teams want to promote healthy behaviors and habits to improve outcomes. Better understanding how lifestyle factors may impact disease indicators such as blood glucose levels can enable organizations to deliver more personalized care and tools to support healthy lifestyle changes. Population health: Supporting better management of community health outcomes with a focus on preventive care can help reduce the likelihood of getting a chronic disease and improve quality of life.2 Fitbit users can choose to share their data with organizations that deliver lifestyle behavior change programs aimed at both prevention and management of chronic or acute conditions.Clinical research: Clinical trials depend on rich patient data. Collection in a physician’s office captures a snapshot of the participant’s data at one point in time and doesn’t necessarily account for daily lifestyle variables. Fitbit, used in more than 1,500 published studies–more than any other wearable device–can enrich clinical trial endpoints with new insights from longitudinal lifestyle data, which can help improve patient retention and compliance with study protocols.Health equity: Addressing healthcare disparities is a priority across the healthcare ecosystem. Analyzing a variety of datasets, such as demographic and social determinants of health (SDOH) alongside Fitbit data has the potential to provide organizations and researchers with new insights regarding disparities that may exist across populations—such as obesity disparities that exist among children in low-income families, or increased risk of complications among Black women related to pregnancy and childbirth. Learn more about Fitbit’s commitment to health equity research here.

Accelerate time to insight

Gaining a more holistic view of the patient can better support people on their health and wellness journeys, identify potential health issues earlier, and provide clinicians with actionable insights to help increase care team efficiency. Device Connect for Fitbit addresses data interoperability to “make the invisible visible” for organizations, providing users with consent management and control over their data. Leveraging world-class Google Cloud technologies, Device Connect for Fitbit offers several pre-built components that help make Fitbit data accessible, interoperable and useful—with security and privacy as foundational features.

Enrollment & consent app for web and mobile: The pre-built patient enrollment and consent app enables organizations to provide their users with the permissions, transparency, and frictionless experience they expect. For example, users have control over what data they share and how that data is used.Data connector: Device Connect for Fitbit offers an open-source data connector3, with automated data normalization and integration with Google Cloud BigQuery for advanced analytics. Our data connector can support emerging standards like Open mHealth and enables interoperability with clinical data when used with Cloud Healthcare API for cohort building and AI training pipelines.Pre-built analytics dashboard: The pre-built Looker interactive visualization dashboard can be easily customized for different clinical settings and use cases to provide faster time to insights.AI and machine learning tools: Use AutoML Tables to build advanced models directly from BigQuery or build custom models with 80% fewer lines of code required using Vertex AI—the groundbreaking ML tools that power Google, developed by Google Research. 

Google Cloud’s ecosystem of delivery partners will provide expert implementation of services for Device Connect for Fitbit to help customers deploy at scale, and includes BlueVector AI, CitiusTech, Deloitte, and Omnigen.

Potential to help predict and prevent disease

The Hague’s Haga Teaching Hospital in the Netherlands is one of the first organizations to use Device Connect for Fitbit. The solution is helping the organization support a new study on early identification and prevention of vascular disease. 

“Collaborating with Google Cloud allows us to do our research, with the help of data analytics and AI, on a much greater scale,” cardiologist Dr. Ivo van der Bilt said. “Being able to leverage the new solution makes it easier than ever to gain the insights that will make this trial a success. Health is a precious commodity. You realize that all the more if you are struck down by an illness. If you can prevent it or catch it in time so that it can be treated, you have gained a great deal.” 

Fitbit innovation continues

Since becoming part of the Google family in January 2021, Fitbit has continued to help people around the world live healthier, more active lives and to introduce innovative devices and features, including FDA clearance for the new PPG AFib algorithm for irregular heart rhythm detection, released in April of this year. Fitbit metrics including activity, sleep, breathing rate, cardio fitness score (Vo2 Max), heart rate variability, weight, nutrition, SP02 and more will be accessible through Device Connect Fitbit.  Google’s interactions with Fitbit are subject to strict legal requirements, including with respect to how Google accesses and handles relevant Fitbit health and wellness data. You can find details on these obligations here.

We look forward to empowering our customers to create more patient-centered, data-driven healthcare. Read more about Haga Teaching Hospital’s work to predict heart disease on the Google Cloud blog, and visit cloud.google.com/device-connect to learn more about Device Connect for Fitbit.

1. Harris Poll
2. CDC
3. Device Connect for Fitbit is built on the Fitbit Web API and data available from consenting users is the same as that made available for third parties through the Fitbit Web API, and enables the enterprise customer services through Google Cloud.

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